Allan Mayer’s Weblog

Archive for the ‘getting published’ Category

OK, before I start- Reality Check…

I am not, as has been said in some quarters about POD published authors, the literary equivalent of  the ‘Britain’s got Talent’ Saddoes who assault our eyes and ears and in some cases our moral sensitivities on a Saturday Evening.

I have written a novel which will have appeal to a discerning but limited audience, granted, but in having it published through Print on Demand I know what I am doing. People are reading the story, and they are enjoying it. Maybe in smaller numbers than if I’d been taken on by a mainstream publisher, but as my belief is in the story and not in money I would rather a few people read it than it stays on my hard drive until I die because it is not considered ‘commercial.’

But in my small way I got my fifteen minutes of fame today, and enjoyed it.

Let’s get it into perspective though. As much as I love writing, I belong to another world, a world which is more real and more rewarding.

Tasting the Wind features people with learning disabilities because for over twenty years that is a world in which I have been immersed. I manage a day service for people with Profound Learning Disabilities. Much of the job is administrational but occasionally I get to work ‘hands-on.’ Like yesterday when I spent an afternoon pedalling people around on adapted bicycles, getting the wind in their faces and experiencing speed.

Today I accompanied people to a ‘Wheelchair aerobics’ session at the local leisure centre.

I got back to the office where two of my tasks at the moment include merging two services into one, and buying equipment in memory of a dearly loved ‘service user’ ( a piece of jargon we are obliged to use) who died recently.

In the midst of this, a staff member called me. I picked up the phone to hear her say ‘you’re famous!’

‘I’m what?’

‘Famous!’

it turned out that a former member of staff who has now gone to university had walked into her tutor’s office to see a copy of my book on her desk, and had texted to pass on what she had seen.

It was a nice feeling.

Then I got home. Wednesday night is a night where I get a bit of free time. My wife, Alison, is now a Brownie leader- well almost- soon she will be taking an oath with her hand on a mushroom (which I think is bordering on the occult.) So she is out at the same time that our foster son, Duane, is at scouts.

So I go online. My blog stats and website hits are soaring at the moment, so I’m pleased. People are either reading what I have to say, or are mistaking me for an American Evangelist of the same name (I’m getting some weird e-mails from people wanting to ‘share their visions.’)

Then I read an e-mail from a company director who wants me to sign some copies of Tasting the Wind as corporate gifts. I am absolutely amazed, and honoured.

Like I say, I’m not so stupid as to think that this makes me Dan Brown. But it is pleasing and  flattering.

And it is a wake up call.

I don’t pretend to know enough about the publishing status quo to claim that traditional publishing is dead or broken. But I do know one thing…

The mantra of some supposed ‘experts’ is that self-published and POD published books are only bought by the friends and families of the authors.

Maybe this was the case in pre-internet days.

And yes, it’s true that POD authors won’t sell as many copies as those with the marketing machinery of a ‘real’ publisher behind them. And my novel won’t get as many reader as one by Peter and Jordan, because in this world hype is all-important, but…

people who have never met me- people in the UK, America, Australia, Canada, have bought my book because they saw it on the internet.

So one Shibboleth of the supporters of traditional publishing has fallen. Fact.

What comes next?

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A lot has happened since I started my blog one year ago this month…

This time last year I was still sending out the letters and submissions to agents and publishers and getting them returned (or not) with the standard rejection letters. Each manuscript provided exactly what each agent or publisher asked for, not a chapter more or less, an introductory letter, a synopsis and stamped addressed envelope. I never compromised on presentation, even when a friend of mine who has published a series of bestselling books told me that his break came when a publisher dished his submission out to a student, who just happened to enjoy reading it on a tube journey.

It was  advice from published writers that made me think that perhaps I was looking in the wrong place with ‘Tasting the Wind.’ One of them said that a writer’s first novel was more likely to succeed it it was ‘high concept.’ Another suggested that publishers were put off by mixed genre. A novel can be well written, but if a publisher perceives that it will not sell in large numbers it will not be taken on.

It was then that I decided to try a different route.

I had started my marketing early- about nine months before I had a published book- and that preparing of the ground proved invaluable. In August I was invited to speak at Stafford University, and it was there that a lady who later turned out to be a publishing consultant asked me who my book was aimed at, and by what time was I hoping  to get it published. For some reason I said ‘Christmas.’

It wasn’t long after this that I got an e-mail from my friend, Dominic Took, informing me that a publisher, YouWriteOn, were offering free POD publication,  before Christmas to 5000 writers .

There was never a chance that they would get 5000 books out in that time, and I wasn’t surprised when ‘Tasting the Wind’ didn’t appear until well into the New Year. So to fill the gap I carried on marketing, and through the process have met some great people. Some of them are writers who are only too happy to share ideas. Others are people who have contacted me from all corners of the globe to express interest in my work.

If you are planning to self-publish or POD publish a book, you will probably be told that it will only be bought by friends and family. I can assess this assertion in one word: WRONG. This may have been true in the days before the internet, but not now. Of course you won’t make the sales of a mainstream book- that’s a given- but if you put the work into marketing (and no one else is going to do it for you) you will find that people you have never met will buy your book, and even write reviews on it.

So, as things stand, one year on ‘Tasting the Wind’ is making modest global sales. Of over 400 YouWriteOn published books it is number one on the Book Depository chart and number two on Amazon. The immediate future is looking hopeful, as some of my biggest marketing initiatives are now in the pipeline- they include two reviews, one  in a regional magazine and another in a national.

Do I regret going down the POD route? Not at all. People are reading my story, so I consider that I have achieved what I set out to do.

Anyone who is considering POD or self-publishing must go into it with their eyes open. The chances of being ‘discovered’ by a major publisher are almost non-existent.  You will not make enormous sales, but if you work hard on promotion and find a niche market your book will not be read only by people who know you and your work will not languish on your hard drive.

So let’s see what the next twelve months bring.

Just a quickie to say- received this from YouWriteOn tonight:

Dear Allan,
 
We are pleased to inform you that your book is now ready to order from YouWriteOn and Legend Press. Your book has also entered book distribution channels and our books are already starting to appear on sites like Amazon. Please follow the ordering instructions below exactly so that we can process your order.

 

 To order copies of your book, email us, with your book title in your email header. In your email, include the following information:

 1)      Your Book Title again

2)      Your Name

3)      Your Delivery Address, including postcode

4)      Your telephone number, required for those who choose tracked orders

5)      How many books you wish to order

6)      Important Inform us of the email address which you plan to include in your Google checkout payment for your book order (link will follow your email). This is very important as we cannot tie up orders with book titles unless you specify the email address from which you will pay in your email to us

7)      Whether you would like standard delivery (Royal Mail) or tracked delivery – see below for further details. We can only inform you of delivery prices once you inform us how many copies you wish to order

 Package and Posting Terms of Delivery

 We will inform you of package and posting costs depending on the amount of copies you inform us you wish to order. For other countries, we will notify you of delivery costs and delivery times. The postage and handling charges are charged by our printers Lightning Source to us for delivery of your book. Lightning Source are one of the world’s largest print-on-demand companies. Note that Lightning Source do not replace any books that may go missing as a fault of Royal Mail delivery, so we cannot do so either. By placing an order with us you accept this as a condition of delivery. If you would like a tracked mail delivery through DHL (UK), please inform us in your order email above, and if it goes missing Lightning Source will resupply the order if they are satisfied the order was placed and went missing. We hope you enjoy your book!

 The YouWriteOn Staff and Legend Press Partnerships

This is slightly edited. For those of you who are interested in the financial side of things: the book sells at £8.99. With author discounts I will make just over £2.00 per copy (half of which goes to Derian House Children’s Hospice) but I have no idea yet what the P&P will be.

 

 

There is such an air of expectancy- and a significant amount of anxiety- on the YouWriteOn website and message boards at the moment.

Is Publishing Your Book an Uphill Struggle?

Is Publishing Your Book an Uphill Struggle?

 

 

 Firstly, there was an announcement that writers will be being contacted next week (Between 9-12th December) with information about the publication of their books.

 Secondly, some books have already started to appear on Amazon- they cost £7.99, although I’m not sure what length they are. According to Ted Smith priority has been given to a number of writers who had managed to arrange book store signings. One has apparently also gained the attention of the national press.There is also a question of whether the books will be available from Amazon before Christmas.

 Thirdly, YouWriteOn is giving 10% of their profits to the ‘Sightsavers’ charity. (See:  http://www.youwriteon.com/info/youwriteon-sightsavers-donations.aspx )

I have blogged before about authors associating their work with a charity:

https://allanmayer.wordpress.com/2008/11/18/a-win-win-marketing-tip/.

  Not only does the charity benefit, but it also provides additional publicity, which provides more sales, which benefits the charity etc. etc. etc.

 

 WELL DONE YOUWRITEON!

ruth_estevez5

 Author RUTH ESTEVEZ                     

“My novel, Meeting Coty was turned down by the big publishers, mainly
because it was too short (65,000 words approx). 80,000 is the magic
number! A new, small publisher who wanted to support the books they
felt strongly about, took it on. They put great effort into the look
of it, but unfortunately, small presses don’t have the money or clout
to put into marketing. Factual or local interest books seem to fare
better than fiction with small presses as they are angled to specific
markets.
Print on demand means that bookshops can’t financially afford to stock
copies on their shelves which means that the casual buyer won’t buy
your book as they can’t physically see it. Also, though available to
order, it often comes out as more expensive as a small publisher will
charge postage which bookshops often have to pass on to the customer
in order to make any profit.
The publishing you are discussing on this blog will find it just as
hard, maybe even harder to get into bookshops, so it’s up to the
writer to use any means available to publicise their book. Sites such
as University Alumni, local newspapers, radio stations, festivals and
bookshops are usually helpful. If your book has an IBSN, I would
suggest registering it with the Public Lending Right (www.plr.uk.com)
so that it can be ordered through the library system. Friends in the
right places are always useful too! Good luck to every new writer out
there!”

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Or: how to breed emails like rabbits.

last-night-004

Some of our litter of nine, the night before they went to the pet shop

(thought you’d like this one Gwenda- how’s it going?)

 

There is a theory that we are separated from every other human being by only six steps. That is to say that I have a friend who has a friend who has a friend who has a friend who has a friend who knows Barack Obama, or Osama Bin Laden, or whoever.

 

Using this theory, you could have an amazing piece of free marketing technology at your fingertips.

If, like me, you have a modest number of contacts in your email inbox (mine is about 30) you could soon be reaching thousands. Send a message to everyone in your inbox, and ask them to pass it on to everyone in theirs. supposing they have 30 contacts you will soon have advertised to 30×30 people, and so on. It is what is known as a ‘viral email.’

Of course not everyone will pass it on, but some will, so it is worth trying. I did it earlier this year to tell people about my YouTube channel, and my viewings soared.

A month or so later, follow it up- this will remind some of those who forgot to forward the first one.

 

click here: 6degrees to see an example.

OK, it’s a bit hyped up, but you’ve got to dream big to get there!  And if it only gets you one sale (it should get you at least 30 if they think anything of you!) it will be a good return for a small investment of time.

In addition, do you work for an organisation which uses internal email? Send it out to everyone in your address book. There are bound to be some people who will be so curious about that shy little wallflower on floor 5 who has written a novel about rampant nymphomaniac zombies.

Go on- be a little bit cheeky- you won’t get if you don’t ask.

Good luck, and let me know how you go on.

Visit my Website at: www.allanmayer.com

snowy-and-smudge-9607 

People have been asking if they should be concerned they have heard nothing yet from YWO. I’m tending to think that this can only mean that everything is in order, and that they will next be contacted once their books are published.

I, on the other hand, must by now be in a file at YWO marked ‘High Maintenance Contributors.’

Firstly, my document had changed in transferring from my computer to theirs, so that my prologue began on an even page. To remedy this I was asked to send it in again on PDF.

A couple of days ago I received an email saying that they hadn’t received my back cover blurb. I knew that I’d sent it, so the same gremlins that mixed my pages up had run off, cackling, with a whole file.

At the same time I read a very good review of ‘Tasting the Wind’ from a YWO member, who spotted a grammatical error. Now I’ve always thought that the grammer wot I ‘ave got to be quite good, and that of many of my proof readers even better. But there it was, and it had escaped us all. And not only was it very basic, it was right at the beginning. And not only was it at the very beginning, but it was in a rhyme which was repeated by a major character at various points throughout the entire length of the book.

I would be getting my new baby in December, and even if others commented favourably I would be aware of nothing but the blemish.

So I emailed YWO, explaining what had happened and attaching a corrected copy.

 I was very surprised the next day to receive an email saying that my new PDF had been passed on to Legend Press. This is very reassuring, in light of the fact that the contract said that there would be no correspondence.

I am now back to looking forward to the arrival- and I vow not to look at it again before it’s in print.

Then again I don’t need to, because now it’s absolutely perfect…


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